Laura Bliss is a staff writer at CityLab, covering transportation, infrastructure, and the environment. She also authors MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps that reveal and shape urban spaces (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles, GOOD, L.A. Review of Books, and beyond.
Digital displays in bars across the U.S will offer the best routes to stumble home.
Coming up next on your bar’s playlist? Could be a safe ride home, if you’re tippling at a tavern looped into TransitScreen’s partnership with TouchTunes, the largest digital jukebox company in the U.S.
Think of TransitScreen as one of the better transportation apps out there, broadcasting real-time, localized bus, train, bike and ride-hailing options onto any web-enabled screen. That can include your phone, but the service is really designed for large-scale schedule and route displays in public spaces such as cafes, lobbies, and outdoor kiosks. Watering holes were another obvious site to drop the product, co-founder Ryan Croft told the Washington Business Journal. TouchTunes boasts interactive music displays in 75,000 bars, restaurants, and other venues around the U.S., according to a release. “This is the perfect combination. They have a captive audience of a couple million people a day who are drinking probably more than they should and need to get home,” Croft said. “We provide them the information they need to get home safely.”
The mobility info pops up, ad-like, above TouchTune’s ongoing video loops, next to a “get home safe” message from one of Pernod Ricard USA’s many brands of booze. The beverage company is backing the initial launch, which went live this past weekend in about 200 locations in 14 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Detroit.
It’s hard to argue with the life-saving utility of providing pragmatic transit information to a roomful of drinkers, even if they must be accompanied by ads for Absolut and Bacardi. With the fast-paced spread of interactive signage searing eyeballs (and titillating porn watchers), we appear to be getting closer to a Minority Report-world of immersive marketing every day. At least now we’ll know the very best way to stumble home through this dystopia.